Monday, February 4, 2013

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Poor Grammar is a Clue

If you want people to take you seriously, use correct grammar. This story comes from the Associated Press:

Police: W.Va. man impersonated gov to steal info

Thursday, September 17, 2009

(09-17) 12:36 PDT Hinton, W.Va. (AP) --

Bad grammar and spelling tripped up a man who was trying to steal Social Security numbers and other information from jobseekers by impersonating West Virginia's governor, police said.

Matthew Don Reed of Hinton is being held on $10,000 bond on charges of impersonating a public official, impersonating a state Division of Natural Resources officer and forgery of a public document. . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

National Punctuation Day

Life is good! Today is National Punctuation Day.

Read more at One Writer's Journey:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Don't confuse 'your,' 'you're'

More of Don Ferguson's Grammar Gremlins: Don't confuse 'your,' 'you're'

The misuse of "your" for "you're" is far too common.

I have seen this error several times recently, mainly in e-mail messages.

It is common enough that several handbooks make note of it. One says the two words are confused surprisingly often.

"Your" is the possessive of the pronoun "you."

"You're" is a contraction of "you are."

Here are examples from the Gregg Reference Manual that show both uses:

1. Your thinking is sound, but we lack the funds to underwrite your proposal.

2. You're thinking of applying for a transfer, I understand.

Don K. Ferguson's e-mail address is

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

National Grammar Day


Wednesday, March 4, 2009 is National Grammar Day.

Thank you to Susan, who alerted me to today's festivities.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bob the Angry Flower

From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

Comic artist Stephen Notley set up shop as his Bob the Angry Flower character at the WonderCon comic book convention at Moscone Center.

Full Story: WonderCon: Comic book subculture now mainstream.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Accept, Except

Accept means to receive or approve.
Except means an exclusion.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why Don Ferguson is one of my heroes

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Grammar Gremlins: Know how to use apostrophe

By Don K. Ferguson
Sunday, December 28, 2008

The use of an apostrophe is troublesome for many.

It often is omitted where it is necessary or inserted where it isn't needed.

Placing the apostrophe in plural possessives causes one of the biggest problems. In a recent survey, nearly half of the 2,000 people polled thought "people's choice" was wrong, whereas it is correct.

An example of where an apostrophe is often incorrectly used is in names on residential mailboxes. Example: The Smith's.

You might, however, write about the Smiths' mailbox or the Smiths' house, using an apostrophe to indicate plural possession.

Perhaps the most common apostrophe mistake occurs with "it's." With the apostrophe, the term is a contraction for "it is" or "it has." Without the apostrophe, "its" is the possessive form of "it." The form "its' " is never right.

Don K. Ferguson's e-mail address is

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lose, Loose

Lose means not winning.
Loose means not tight.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Its, It's

It's should ONLY be used as a contraction of it is.
Its is the possessive form of it, but it does not use an apostrophe.

I know it's confusing, but that's the rule.

Less, Fewer

Both less and fewer mean not as much of something, but fewer should be used if you can count the number of the object. For example:
  • Fewer dollars or less money
  • Fewer calories means it's less filling
  • Less cloudy because of fewer clouds
  • Fewer people make up less of a crowd
  • Fewer miles or less distance

Your, You're

Your is something belonging to you.
You're is a contraction for you are.

There, Their, There's, They're

There is a place that isn't here.
Their is something belonging to them.
There's is a contraction for there is.
They're is a contraction for they are.


You do not need an apostrophe to create a plural.

Just ask Bob the Angry Flower.